What's the buzz...

Olive oil can protect bones: Study

A diet enriched with olive oil can help preserve bone strength, a new study has claimed.
Researchers from Hospital Dr Josep Trueta in Girona, Spain found that consumption of a Mediterranean diet enriched with olive oil for two years is associated with increased bone formation markers, suggesting a protective effect on bone.

“The intake of olive oil has been related to the prevention of osteoporosis in experimental and in vitro models,” Jose Manuel Fernandez-Real, lead author of the study said.
“This is the first randomised study which demonstrates that olive oil preserves bone, at least as inferred by circulating bone markers, in humans,” Jose said in a statement.

The participants in this study were 127 community-dwelling men aged 55 to 80 years randomly selected from one of the Prevencion con Dieta Mediterranea (PREDIMED) study centers who had at least two years of follow-up.

Participants were randomly assigned to three intervention groups: Mediterranean diet with mixed nuts, Mediterranean diet with virgin olive oil, and a low-fat diet.
Biochemical measurements of osteocalcin, glucose, total cholesterol, HDL-cholesterol and triglycerides were performed at baseline and after two year follow-up on fasting blood samples.

Researchers found that only consumption of the Mediterranean diet with olive oil was associated with a significant increase in the concentrations of total osteocalcin and other bone formation markers.

There were also no significant changes in serum calcium in subjects taking olive oil whereas serum calcium decreased significantly in the other two groups.

Demise of one predator could lead to extinction of another

Scientists have previously put forward the theory that when a carnivore becomes extinct, other predatory species could soon follow.  A University of Exeter team has now carried out the first experiment to prove it. The study showed how the demise of one carnivore species could indirectly cause another to become extinct. The University of Exeter team believes any extinction can create a ripple effect across a food web, with far-reaching consequences for many other animals.

The research adds weight to growing evidence that a ‘single species’ approach to conservation, for example in fisheries management, is misguided. Instead the focus needs to be holistic, encompassing species across an entire ecosystem.

 The researchers bred two species of parasitic wasps, along with the two types of aphids on which each wasp exclusively feeds. They set up tanks with different combinations of the species and observed them for eight weeks. In tanks that did not include the first species of wasp, the second went extinct within a few generations. In tanks in which they co-existed, both wasp species thrived. In the absence of the first wasp species, its prey grew in numbers. This threatened the other aphid, which the second wasp species attacks, eventually leading to its extinction. Both types of aphids feed on the same plants and there was not enough food for one to survive when the other thrived in the absence of its wasp predator.

“Our experiment provides the first proof of something that biologists have argued for a long time: predators can have indirect effects on each other, to the extent that when one species is lost, the loss of these indirect effects can lead to further extinctions,” said lead researcher Dr Frank van Veen.

Blood group could determine the risk of heart disease

People with A and B blood group are more at risk of heart disease while those having the rarest AB type are the most vulnerable to cardiac ailments compared to blood type O, a new research has found. Harvard University researchers concluded people with blood group AB were 23 per cent more likely to suffer from heart disease, while Group B blood increased the risk by 11 per cent, and type A by 5 per cent.

Scientists found that people with type O blood may benefit from a substance that is thought to assist blood flow and reduce clotting, an American Heart Association statement said. “While people cannot change their blood type, our findings may help physicians better understand who is at risk for developing heart disease,” Lead researcher Professor Lu Qi, from the Harvard School of Public Health in Boston, said.

“It is good to know your blood type the same way you should know your cholesterol or blood pressure numbers. If you know you’re at higher risk, you can reduce the risk by adopting a healthier lifestyle, such as eating right, exercising and not smoking,” Qi said.

Comments (+)